Do you want the same experience on every device?

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| June 14, 2013

Nokia is busy launching Windows Phones, and for the most part they seem to be doing a pretty good job of providing the camera that people want. Wait, what? Isn't it supposed to be about Windows Phone? That's what it used to be about, maybe. More recently, though, I can't help but notice that the mobile operating system that Nokia has on its newest smartphones seems to be just an afterthought, while the hardware itself and related features are supposed to sell the show.

Which isn't surprising, actually. After all, Nokia is a hardware manufacturer. They're supposed to be trying to sell the hardware. Microsoft, on the other hand, is supposed to be working diligently to get you to want the software, so that by the time Nokia shows you a new device like the Lumia 928 or Lumia 925, you're blown away by everything as it comes together in a nice little (big?) package.

As Anna put it, Windows Phone needs apps, and not necessarily such a big focus on the camera. But, again, this is a Nokia thing. Their ads that I've seen are all about the hardware, or the camera, and that's just the way it's supposed to be. It should be left up to Microsoft to be pushing for more application support on its mobile platform.

After all, people want apps. Still.

Anyway, I don't want to keep preaching that Windows Phone needs apps. Instead, I want to look at the platform in general, and how it connects to the whole Microsoft family of devices. I want to do this because I just saw a commercial a little while ago that has a major focus on the "experience," and the fact that you get the same experience from one device to another.

Whether that's on your Xbox, your Windows 8 desktop or laptop, or even your Windows Phone 8-based handset, the experience is the same. You're looking at the same Tiles, or Live Tiles in most cases, and you're heavily rooted in the Microsoft-branded ecosystem. Essentially, you're looking at the same thing, from your TV, to your computer, to your phone.

When Microsoft was initially outlining this idea way back in the day, I thought it was a great idea. The possibilities that Microsoft outlined, as I've said in the past, seemed truly unlimited and grandiose, and I wanted to just throw myself into it. I've tried twice now to drop everything, both phone and tablet and computer, to wade my way back into the Microsoft ecosystem, but both times had the same result:

I went back to what I was using before. Or, just switched away from one of those devices, to pick something else.

I still think Microsoft has a great idea with the plan that you'll be able to pause a game on your console, or Windows 8 machine, and pick it up to play on your Windows Phone. They've got it in the works with a Halo-inspired title, so I'm sure it will move some copies, and sell some devices.

However, it isn't all about that feature, or experience. No, it's all about the main experience, the one that you see more often than not. That Start screen, from one device to another. The same look and feel, from your phone, to your computer, all the way up to the Xbox (more or less now, and definitely once the Xbox One launches later this year).

The truth is, I just got bored. I got bored having no differentiation between my phone, computer and video game console. I was literally looking at the same thing way too often, on different devices. And considering I have to look at those things a lot every single day, I just need a change of pace here and there. Having the same experiences across devices is a great idea, and I'm sure a lot of people love it, but it's definitely not for me.

But I want you to tell me why that is something you look to, or why you skip it entirely. I want to know what you think of Microsoft's "united experience" across all of their major devices and platforms. Do you think it's a great idea? Or do you prefer to have some spice in your life, and have different platforms and user experiences on different devices? Let me know!

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